Pimp my (Dad’s) tandem

So I have a LOT of questions, I could post them in the relevant threads but that would require me to post in about 15 different threads so I’ll just combine them all into on massive TL;DR post here:

My dad has a tandem. It’s not a very good tandem (because good tandems start at ~$4K) but apparently it is acceptable. It has an aluminium frame with massive super oversize tubes so at least ti doesn’t whimy or whatever like Blakey’s Gitane mixte tandem

It’s done a fair few k’s now (and munched it’s way through a decent number of chains) and it’s just about time for another set of fresh chains and a more major overhaul. The cassette is toast and V brakes means the rims are pretty much shot and it’s been breaking the odd spoke as well so it’s probably time for new wheels (there are a couple of other drivers for new wheels discussed below).

Drive train:
Given it’s pretty much time for a new drivetrain and rims anyway, Dad is interested in a IGH (he has a beard and, although he is not actually a qualified engineer I think he might have wanted to be one, does own many books on engineering). Shift while stationary is very important for tandem where trying to lift the rear wheel to drop it into the granny is not so easy.
So the question is: is the Alfine 8 up to the task? the 11 is out as it costs more, is apparently less durable, seems to have bigger gear jumps down low and no direct 1:1). Calculations indicate that the Alfine 8 gives the same gear range as the more commonly used gears in the current 3 x 9 setup.
Due to beardyness the plan is to go for a half step double ring setup on the front as well. 38-42 rings give a 10.5% front jump neatly bisecting the ~20~25 % jumps in the Alfine. In the interests of keeping costs down (but mostly cos it’s cool) I think I’ll forgo the alfine “derraileuresque” tensioner (needed due to the extra chain capacity to cover the difference between the two front rings) and just lock out my suntour OLÉ

Alfine 8 only comes in 32 or 36 hole (obvs use 36h for tandem) the wider flange spacing and larger flanges of the Alfine Vs even a tandem hub should help wheel strength but will it be enough? (current wheels are 40H) estimated all up weight of bike + team is approaching 200kegs, next question is spokes, straight gauge, DB or triple like alpine IIIs. I know some of the cargo bike courier bros use the alfine which gives me some confidence.
which brings us to rims. Need 26”, it has ZAC19’s so probably anything is better, however, more bettererer is beterererer. looking on CRC they had Mavic XM 317 and 319 for pretty cheap, eyeleted and brake track (on the 317 anyway). will these be OK or should I go for the zombie apocalypse proof option and get some rigida sputniks (also surprisingly cheap apparently and double eyeletted)?

Also Need a (disc compatible) dyno front that can hack the weight as well. Shimano alfine and SP offerings are similar price. assuming I’d need 36 H minimum. any reccomendations? (probably best to just PM blakey)

While we’re building new wheels from the ground up I have suggested swapping the fork out for a disc compatible one to avoid wear to the front rim (both rims look pretty much ready to blow after only 5000ish ks )
I was looking at the surly 1x1 which has disk tabs and canti studs (could be useful for mounting a rack) only problem is we need as much steerer as humanly possible. the 1x1 is listed as 260mm which will put the stem about where the current kludgetaculat collection of spacers and stem extenders has it but more would be better to replace both the extender and the (gasp) adjustable stem (pretty sure adjustable stems are an even stupider idea on a tandem than on normal bikes where they only have the potential to kill one person ;p) any other options for minimally sus corrected, disc tabbed beefy 26” fork with HEAPS of steerer to consider?

if going disc how big a rotor is required for a tandem? Probs get icetech rotor. if it can still stop an insane German guy with a 100keg block of concrete strapped to his bike at the bottom of a 3000 meter descent after dragging the brakes the whole way down it should do the job ;p

I think it currently has super puncture resistant schwalbe something or others that have rubber ~1" thick, anyone using resist nomads in a 26" sizeway for rail trail graven grinding/touring (other than Jed)? i like my 700x45s for this purpose. Any reason not to use nomads on a tandem?

I worked in a shop that specialised in tandems and it was awful but 36h rims will be fine with good spokes etc. Go for discs, and a normal size will be fine. I can’t remember what dimension were on our bikes but it was normalish MTB size. Not sure on the hub. Sounds like it would be fine but I am naturally suspicious.

And, finally, to show how I feel seeing/working/thinking about tandems, especially ridden by people wearing matching outfits (more common than you would think)…:

I can’t add too much except I’ve got Alfine 8 on my Bullitt and it’s great on all accounts. I’ve got Schwalbe marathons in 26" on the rear WITH the very beard friendly reflective side wall and in my experience their really good and I’ve heard nothing but good reports… for what they are.

Alfine 36H is likely fine. Especially in a 26", barely dished build.

Here’s your wheels, reckon you could negotiate down to $150. Comes with a bent tensioner too.
Then build a dyno front if you like.
Australian Cycling Forums - [VIC] - 26" Alfine 8 disc wheelset

203mm rotor. Saint/Zee brakes if you really want to pull up hard.

Getting a non sus corrected disc fork that’s strong enough is tough. “80mm” 1x1 is likely the closest, it’ll have a small effect on HTA, run the numbers and see. Surly disc trucker would be ideal dimension wise, but likely not strong enough in a panic brake situation.

Dyno: DH-3D72 / DH-S501 or similar. Less MTBF than SP. Look out for caliper/spoke/fork interference, likely only an issue with small rotors and spyres with dyno hubs though.

Spokes: 2mm Plain gauge or beefier for wheel stiffness.

Rims: Mavic touring / DH or Velocity Dyad or similar.

Tyres: I like the 2" kojaks on my 26" tandem. Not officially rated for tandem use, but not many tyres are. And you don’t want to be on Marathon Turdremes.

Finally: If you don’t IGH/ 36H, I have a spare set of wheels you can have for small amounts of money. Screw on f/w, 135mm spaced, drum brake threaded, Velocity rims, 40H F&R.

Unfortunately mum wont ride a solo (confidence thing) so it’s a tandem or nothing in terms of going for rides together
It’s all good though, no matching outfits here, they have instructed me to euthanase them should matching outfits occur ;p

It’ll be disc front, V rear due to the frame, 180mm sound normal or go for a 203mm?

I think dad’s got marathons right now, but the heaviest slowest most puncture proof ones.
I know they come in more supple carcas way which would probably be the option if nomads are unsuitable.
What’s the max all up weight you’ve had in the Bullitt and how many k’s have you put on it?

^ you oughta be asking Blaine (Cargone) about his Bullits. He has both IGH & EGH.

thanks ALbot,

Will think about BNA wheels, while we are trying to keep costs down, it’s relative to a $1.5k rolhoff or a $4k new tandem ;p given the rate of wear on the rear rim and the breaking spokes, going new (with alpine IIIs) will give a bit more peace of mind (and potential rim life) and not cost heaps more. ~$230 for alfine 8 + fitting kit on wiggle everyone should buy 2 ;p would have to replace front with dyno anyway

203 mm rotor it is, he’s got a non series hydro disk on the front of his vivente which the guys at commuter seemed to think seemed to think quite highly of, might go teh same again for similar feel/lever shape or zee/saint if the levers aren’t radically different.

S501 cos disc and was what dad was already looking at, and now Blakey approvedtm defs will get!

1x1 is only ~20mm more axle to crown, which given the long wheelbase of a tandem probably doesn’t do much. getting a new headset too but i don’t think i can go much lower stack than the current one to offset increased A-C.

Rims: not sputniks? double eyeletted, cheap, apparently super strong + thick sidewalls. XM317 is available on CRC and specced on some of the $4k tandems dad was looking at (seems about the beefiest mavic 26" rim brake rim i can find? Mavic’s website is absolute shite and doesn’t even list the XM317???) Edit XM717 costs more, weighs more and, apparently, strongs more as well?

think i’ll pass on your wheels as well, currently 3x9 so screw on FW would probably not be the best, +145 spacing. Could be made to work but dad is happy with preliminary cost estimate.

no comment on half step 2 x Alfine gearing?
this means either the idea is so preposterous that you can’t even think about it or it’s such a brilliant idea you wish you though of it first (or you just TL;DR’d through the post and didn’t notice)

no comment on 2xIGH, coz if you wanna, then go for it, no objections here.

SLX hydro will be fine (finned pads, best bang/buck), saint/zee gets you into multi pot territory.

Surely that wheelset is barely ridden, give it an oil bath and away you go.

Rims: whatever really, anything beefy and tuff that meets budget will survive.

cool, know nothing about current hydro’s

read the wheelset add as cassette joint was bent but its the tensioner? also formerly used on a recumbent (gasp)
will forward to dad and see if he wants to go that way or new

I wonder how my tandem managed to hold up with cantilever brakes while touring in Tasmania or while racing with a blind stoker in Australia, Belgium and Switzerland? Sure, replace whatever bits on the tandem that you like but don’t use a crap safety excuse for doing so. Pretty much any replacement fork will not have as much rake as the existing fork and the handling will deteriorate.

This is how you really rant against v/discs on a tandem :wink:

Disc Brakes vs. Cantilever Brakes

:"( I should probably have used a few more emoticons to convey the less serious manner in which i intended my comments about dieing, etc to be taken ;p ROFLMAO

The new wheels will still be rim brake compatible so when the stupidity of my new fork X disc collabo becomes obvious we can always go back to old fork X canti’s/V’s/Magura rim hydros

proposed hydro disc x ice tech rotor should at least address some of the complaints against disc in Blakey’s link

I hope your parents have fun on their two-fer.

Next August, I’ll be riding Paris-Brest-Paris on a racing tandem (dual-pivots) that has done a lot of brevets up and down Welsh hills (up to 25%). It should be a lot of fun, like all tandem rides.

I hope so too

Also just putting this out there for information:
I emailed Blaine from Cargone and he usually uses derailleurs, the bike in the pic Blakey/Albot posted has a Nuvinci which he said was an experiment.

We’ll probably be ordering the bits soon.

The rear brake will still be a V and the pads are pretty much worn out so we’ll need new pads as well.
I think i have some Koolstop salmons lying about. Any other options that are better than the koolstops?

finally bolting all the bits together and discovered the cheapo looseball pedals that came on the bike are pretty rough.
What flat pedal does the FOA hive mind recommend in a sealed bearingway?
will be used sans retention of any sort, current pedals are fairly small cage pedals, so i don’t think removable pins or anything like that would be required.
haven’t ridden flat pedals since forever so no idea what’s good these days

I don’t know much, but I know I love you.

Fyxation Mesa (St Cloud stock usually) are a good cheaper thin platform / sealed bearing option

And those ones linked by WCP also look good.

Have been using Nukeproof Neutrons for a while now, no retention, FiveTens, on as gnarly terrain as I’ve ever ridden and had no issues with grip but they don’t spin so good no more (probably need a pull apart and clean) and some of the pins have unscrewed themselves and you can’t tighten them from the opposite side. Cheap but probably wouldn’t recommend!

xpedo sprys are also very good!

thanks for the reccomendations
the fyxations look like they could be a goer
given that no gnar is likely to be schreded (rail trail/bike path/road touring only) i don’t really think the more aggressive metal pins (and extra cost) of of the alloy options are required.
the fyxations (or any of the other options) already offer about twice the area of current cheapo pedals